by Ana Cosenza
"Holiness is a gift, a commandment and a mission. Holiness or sainthood is for everyone, because it corresponds to God's fundamental plan for us. Being a saint is not alienating oneself or moving away from one's brothers, but living in an intense (and sometimes painful) experience of communion," explains the Rector Major, Fr Ángel Fernández Artime. "Holiness has nothing to do with a theory ... But rather it has some characteristics of the life of Jesus that are near, concrete, beautiful, exciting for everyone, to which perhaps people never think or think little about."
Holiness, that is, must be lived in one's daily life, as many men and women have done throughout history, even if only some of them have been recognized as saints by the Church.
This is a key and fundamental point of the Strenna 2019. This message of the Rector Major concerns the importance of being saints, not of being declared saints. "The canonized saints are like the facade of the church; but the church contains many more precious treasures within it, which however remain invisible." This inner part, less visible, is that which the Strenna wants to invite you to discover.
Thus the Strenna for 2019 speaks of the need to be saints with young people. In a certain sense, it is quite logical that Domenico Savio was the first to be canonized after Don Bosco: the fruits of the holiness of the Salesians are the young saints, and the holiness of the young is in a sense the indicator of the sanctity of the members of the Salesian Family.
The text of the Strenna reiterates that holiness does not remove the person from his or her duties or interests. Holiness is not just a goal for some. It is a full life, a life lived in full, according to the plan and gift of God. It is therefore a "journey of profound humanization, like every authentic spiritual experience."
Holiness is not for "the best" or "the most prepared", because "holiness is participation in the life of God."